"Top tens," in music at least, are for me impossible. We're just going to have to build a bigger island. Films, I did manage to whittle down to a neat deck, though it was purely by accident, and probably more than a bit of forgetting. At least you can be sure that these celluloid selections are all wheat, no chaff—that is, if you've followed these posts of mine for the last few years and have gleaned something positive from them, and / or have an accentuated appreciation of the My Castle of Quiet radio show, and / or didn't buy into Ozzy singing "God Is Dead" this year, because um, "we know he was never alive in the first place" is the most metal response to that proposition.
Vampire Diary - (A feature from 2007, not at all related to the post-Twilight television-teen-romance vampire series; I even had a massive hurdle online just trying to find a presentable image of the film poster.) This Vampire Diary is a video one, originally conceived by our female protagonist as a minor exposé about "weekend vampires," playtime blood-drinkers who go clubbing on weekends and occasionally drink one another's blood for sport. Into this somewhat silly aggregation steps a real vampire, an alluring, mysterious, sexy woman, who not only doesn't eat, but must take out real victims in order to survive. I'm always on the lookout for effective employs of the handheld-camera subgenre, and this is yet another clever take on the "everyone has a camera" societal shift of the last decade plus, and the immediacy of handheld is smartly used to arresting effect, proving that are always new tricks, however worn the basket of the original idea. A romantic relationship develops between our heroine-filmmaker and the vampire woman, while the former's friends disappear one by one, somewhat unmysteriously. This is a colorful, sexy, but also very bleak film, while being a modern and comparatively cohesive narrative on what happens when you take in a flatmate who films you in your sleep. The metaphor of vampirism as addiction has never been more alive than in this story as well, and as the desperation escalates, the viewer gets sucked in to the ladies' impossible situation. Though approx. six years old, I just viewed the film this year for the first time, then watched it twice more, and it seemed more than worthy of inclusion on this list, both in that a primary criteria for inclusion here is innovation, and also because of the way "Vicki the vampire" streaks the cityscape in a desperate search for victims, reminding me of a composite of women I dated and/or knew in the 80s and 90s all around NYC, holding up a somewhat bent mirror to my own life at one particular time.
Evil Dead (remake) - Everything horror coming out of Hollywood these days, barring the exceptional few, is a remake of a 70s or 80s genre title, and I find myself sore and decrying the sheer lack of anyone willing to "bank" a fresh horror concept in tinseltown (not to say it doesn't occasionally happen.) That said, with expectations on the floor, I saw the Evil Dead remake, endorsed by the original Tapert-Raimi creative team (obviously a plus), and found myself quite pleasantly thrilled and genuinely surprised. It's not only that it stands freshly on its own, but were the "new" Evil Dead developed in a vacuum, it would be many times more appreciable, and to a generation who did NOT grow up appreciating the original Evil Deads I and II, much like those who heard Bikini Kill with virgin ears never graced by an X Ray Spex record, this film delivers a pretty big boom, especially considering the utter formulaic crap that passes nowadays for a scary movie. There's a female protagonist, so the whole issue of replacing/recasting Bruce Campbell's Ash is cleverly skirted around and rendered irrelevant, and the whole piece is quite artfully shot, for maximum, colorful bursts of horror pleasure. I was impressed, and beyond the whole issue of exceeding low expectations, the new Evil Dead is actually just plain good fun, standing on its own as genuinely enjoyable, and chillingly inspired, with more than a few dynamite scenes.